On the 11th of June this year, England will be playing against Russia in the UEFA European Football Championship, the quadrennial men’s championship organised by the Union of European Football Associations. The championship is scheduled to be held in France and will be bigger than ever, having been opened up to 24 contestants since the original 16 team format in 1996. It’s going to be a whole month (From the 10th of June to the 10th of July) of incredible football action, featuring the best national teams from around the globe.
The first match England is playing will be in Group B and the opposition will be Russia, a formidable opponent. So who will win? Whether you’ve bought tickets to the match or are planning to watch the match on TV, it will be a gripping and intense match. This is a rundown of what the match could mean for the England team, the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, and our expert opinion on what the odds will be, if you’re planning on putting money on your favorite or are just eager to know the outcome. It’s the match that everyone will be interested in, and here’s how we think it might go down.
The England national football team has had mixed results so far in matches this year, with two victories, two losses and two draws. Now the England manager Roy Hodgson is looking to put together a winning national team for England for the Europe 2016 Championship. The question now is who will be filling the vacancies. Some have suggested that Wayne Rooney, England’s long time star scorer, could be in forward. Other suggestions include Jamie Vardy, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck. When it comes to midfielders, Roy will have to make some tough decisions with the players making a big difference to England’s chances.
Hodgson has been said to be banking on the ‘chav generation’ of footballers. Compared to players with talent and a squeaky-clean image such as Michael Owen and Paul Scholes, current England team players such as Jack Wilshere and Jamie Vardy represent the LAD Bible and other currents of English lad culture. Such players have attracted controversy with contested injury claims and frequent suspension for unsportsmanlike behavior. These players may be the new ‘bad boys’ of English football, but are they reliable enough to lead England to victory? It may well depend on the strength of the Russian opposition.
The odds of whether Russia will be able to defeat England in the June 11th match will be dependent in part on their previous results in other matches. Only last week, Russia lost an international friendly match against France by 4 points to 2. The match was the first to be played at the Stade de France in Paris since the November 2015 terror attacks, and the French team were clearly ready for an uplifting result. Russia was playing aggressively, with 16 fouls compared to 9 by France, but the home team outmaneuvered them with 13 shots and 4 on target, as well as more corners and possessions. This defeat took some of the wind out of Russia’s sails, leading to bookies revising down their odds in the UEFA European Championship.
However, previously this year Russia scored a stunning victory against Lithuania, scoring 3 nil. The match was touch and go for most of the time with only 6 shots attempted and 3 shots on target. There were also lots of fouls on both sides. It wasn’t the most pleasing of matches, but it was enough for the Russian national team to claw back some of their credibility and to convince many that they have a fighting chance in the European championship. That they’re ready to fight for some of the glory.
Aside from recent matches, Russia has also faced other recent challenges. In March of 2015, the Russian Football Union admitted that Russia was suffering from a ‘virus’ of racism. A report concluded that there were over 200 cases of discriminatory behavior linked to Russian football over the last two seasons. Racist chanting by Russian supporters has been recognized as a problem, while objects have been thrown at players. Also, the manager of the Russian team Fabio Capello was sacked last year after presiding over a disappointing run of losses. The new head coach is Leonid Slutsky. These recent problems could affect the Russia team’s results, especially if fans lose confidence in them.
This isn’t the first time England and Russia will be squaring off at an international match. In 2007, at the UEFA European Championship, England and Russia played two matches against each other. The first was on the 12th of September and resulted in a 3 nil victory for England. The scorers in the game were Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand. Neither of these players will be booked to be in the upcoming match with Russia. The second game was a win for Russia, with 2 goals to 1. One of Russia’s goals was a penalty, while the other was made by Pavluchenko. The England goal was made by Wayne Rooney. With one game going to either team, it’s clear that there is all to play for for both teams in the upcoming match.
England is put at 6/5 to win by Paddy Power, while Russia is being backed at 3/1 by Betway. There’s considerable disagreement between the bookies about who is going to take home this victory, but the favorite is England by some margin. Whether backing England or Russia, most betting sites agree that a draw is unlikely, at 52/21. In summary, if you’re going to make a bet on the upcoming England Russia competition, the best bet looks to be England. But it will probably be close, with both teams training for the competition and looking to be at their peak fitness and readiness. Predictions in football are rarely entirely correct, but that’s the fun of the game.